Bottles of whisky thought to be the oldest in the world - and supposedly sipped by Queen Victoria - fetched nearly £400,000 at auction after they were discovered in an historic Scottish castle.

The two dozen dusty bottles were among a cache of around 40 found hidden behind a cellar door in 750-year-old Blair Castle in Perthshire, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Atholl.

According to a plaque found with the stash, the Scotch was distilled 190 years ago in 1833 and matured for eight years before being bottled, making the whisky the oldest vintage in existence.

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Twenty four of bottles were put up for sale in Perth-based Whisky Auctioneer's latest online auction, where they fetched a total of over £385,630 on Monday (December 4) after attracting bids from collectors around the world.

Every bottle exceeded its £10,000 reserve price, with one bottle going on to scoop a top price of £19,500 after attracting 37 bids before the sale ended in the early hours of the morning.

The remaining bottles of the "remarkably well-preserved Scotch" will be exhibited as part of the Blair Castle visitor experience.

The Herald: Head curator Joe Wilson holds the 190-year-old whiskyHead curator Joe Wilson holds the 190-year-old whisky (Image: Whisky Auctioneer)

Whisky Auctioneer, which has partnered with Blair Castle and the Atholl Estates to host the auction, said it marked an "historic moment".

Joe Wilson, head curator and spirits specialist, said: "It’s been a privilege to work with Blair Castle and Atholl Estates to bring this incredible discovery to auction.

"It has been a fascinating journey, working with Blair Castle and various third-party scientific research institutes, to establish as much information as possible regarding these historic bottles and the whisky within.

"This whisky is a monumental find and it's wonderful that whisky enthusiasts across the world have had the opportunity to now own a time capsule from deep in the history of Scotch whisky."

Distilled in the 1830s, the whisky was made during a period when whisky production was experiencing massive change following the 1823 Excise Act.

The Herald: It's thought Queen Victoria sampled the whisky when she visited Blair Castle in 1844It's thought Queen Victoria sampled the whisky when she visited Blair Castle in 1844 (Image: Whisky Auctioneer)

It is also thought "highly likely" to be the same whisky sampled by Queen Victoria and  Prince Albert during their three week stay at Blair Castle in 1844.

The Blair Castle Household Book lists that Whisky was consumed during the visit, while local newspapers at the time reported Queen Victoria’s liking for Atholl Brose - a local drink of whisky with honey.

The plaque found with the bottles stated a distillation year of 1833, bottling year of 1841, and a subsequent rebottling year of 1932. It is thought the bottles were then secreted away and later forgotten about.

They were rediscovered late last year by Blair Castle's resident trustee, Bertie Troughton.

Cellar inventories and letters kept in the castle archives as well as distilling equipment from the era all support the whisky's early 19th century origins.

The Herald: Bertie Troughton discovered the whisky at Blair CastleBertie Troughton discovered the whisky at Blair Castle (Image: Whisky Auctioneer)

Mr Troughton said: "Blair Castle is fortunate to have one of the best archives of any historic house in Scotland and it’s been wonderful to see the story of these fabulous bottles come to life.

"Whisky has always been a huge part of the history of Blair Castle and we will be building an exhibition around the bottles we keep after the auction so that all who visit Blair Castle can see it and hear the history of this incredible whisky."

Scientific analysis at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre also supports the dates, while a sample submitted to the Scotch Whisky Research Institute confirmed its ABV of 61.36%.

The liquid also showed evidence of being aged in an oak cask and the likelihood it was produced in accordance with early 19th century malt whisky distilling practices.